Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
The subject of authority can sometimes be confusing, so letís start by defining it. Strongís Concordance says; privilege, delegated influence: W.E. Vines says thisÖ "power of authority," the right to exercise power. I have heard one definition of authority that says authority is delegated power, and I think that is a very good description. Authority in itself is not power, but the bestowed right to use and yield that power.
If you look at Jesus statement in Mt. 28 you will see that the authority He was walking in was given to Him. As He Himself said, all authority has been given to Me.
My question is Who gave Jesus the right to walk in this authority and do we as Christians have the right to walk in Godly authority? The truth is most Christians recognize the authority that Jesus walked in. The Pharisees who were the religious leaders of His day asked Jesus this very question, although they werenít seeking understanding, they were trying to trap Him.
Matthew 21:23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?''
Jesus would not tell them, but we know He received His authority from the Father.
I would also like to point out that walking in Authority and being under submission go hand in hand. Some people say that Jesus was the Son of God and because of that, He could do what ever He wanted; however, if you study the Scriptures you will see that is not an accurate way of looking at it. Jesus was and is the Son of God, but He made Himself of no reputation and took on the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
The Living Bible says it like thisÖ
Philippians 2:7 but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. Christ humbled himself
Jesus very clearly said that He did not speak of His own authority but the authority of the Father.
John 14:10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
In an earlier chapterÖ John 9:4 "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
Jesus was an obedient Son who did the works He was sent to do. He glorified the Father by being an obedient Son and fulfilling His Heavenly Fathers will, as we have already read in Phil:2:8. As an obedient Son He completed the mission He was sent to do. Jesus made this choice to be obedient. You might say what do you mean. Obedience if not by choice is not obedience at all. Jesus chose to be a servant. He chose to be obedient. Jesus said in Johnís GospelÖ
John 10:18 "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.''
Jesus had the choice yet He chose obedience.
Luke 22:42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.''
He was obedient unto the death of the cross. Obedience brings Godís anointing and blessing.
The Prophet Isaiah said Ö Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
This is not only just the act of obedience, but an attitude as well. I am a firm believer in tithing but I know that Godís Word says we should not give grudgingly or of necessity, God loves a cheerful giver. This isnít saying not to give, itís saying to give with the right motives, it is the willing and obedient that shall eat the good of the land. Not just the willing or just the obedient, I hope you take my point in this. God looks at both our motives as well as our obedience. I said all of this to point out that there is balance in the things of God. You can be a servant and have a bad attitude about what you are doing canít you? You can be a giver and yet not be a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful giver!!! I would like to look at someone in the Word of God who understood the principle of walking in and under authority.
Matthew 8:5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6. saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.''
7. And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him.''
8. The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9. "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, `Go,' and he goes; and to another, `Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, `Do this,' and he does it.''
10. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
11. "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12. "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.''
13. Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.''
So much is said here but I would like to look at a few key things. The Centurion said
I also am a man under authority. He recognized the authority that Jesus walked in. This soldier also was a man under authority given to him by the Roman State to exercise power. Without the authority granted him by the Roman State, he would have no power at all would he? Any soldier knows and recognizes authority. It is one of the basic principles taught to them from the time they enter the military isnít it? Without the chain of command, there would be chaos. Orders come from the top and work their way down through the entire chain of command. Their purpose is to bring about the will of the ones who have the ultimate decision making responsibility. Following orders is what will bring about the will of the ones who have the ultimate responsibility. I hope you see where I am going with this. This principle we are looking at in the natural has spiritual applications that I believe a great number of Christians have never understood. Learning to walk in authority in this natural way is very similar to learning to walk in authority in the spiritual. When you are obedient and follow orders you are walking in the plan God has ordained to bring success. I have learned this is where Godís grace is and this is where the anointing is. I have seen it over and over. This doesnít mean that we always have to agree with things, but whether we agree or not there is a God ordained chain of command that He expects His children to walk in.
This Centurion had soldiers under him and he expected them to follow his orders just as he followed the orders of the ones above him. This is just the way it works. Everyone doesnít just get to do their own thing. I see so many Christians gripping because they donít get to do their own thing. This may sound hard but we have the choice to do our thing, or Godís thing. Be respectful to the ones in authority even if you do not agree with them. Pray and intercede for them, not criticize and complain.
In my own Christian walk I have seen God open many doors and opportunities of ministry that simply would not have happened if I had copped an attitude and said, well Iím too good for this. If you are faithful in the little things, more will be given. This is Gods principle and it would do us good to learn to walk in it. It is also a sign of maturity.
When we have learned to submit to authority, we can then be given a place of authority over others, just like this Roman Centurion. He submitted to higher authority and others under him had to submit to his authority. Authority is tied in with submission and faith is tied in with authority, this is just the way it works.
Jesus walked in this kind of authority and when He spoke to sickness, it had to go. When He spoke to death, it had to go. When He spoke to demons, they had to leave. Recognizing this earthly principle, the Roman Centurion simply said; But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. Jesus marveled at this mans faith. He said, Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Even the children of the Covenant didnít know and understand this, what an incredible statement. This man had gotten a hold of something that the Covenant children of God had not gotten a hold of. WOW! Do you see the importance of this? His servant received healing because of it, and Jesus declared He had not seen greater faith in Israel. This soldier knew what authority meant and what the inevitable outcome would be. His servant was healed just like Jesus said, and it happened because an ordinary soldier recognized the authority Jesus walked in. There is a great truth here if we will receive it. This is just the beginning of leaning to walk in our authority but it is an important first step that every believer should learn to take.
When we learn to walk in the authority that has been given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, we will no longer have circumstances dictate our every move, but we will dictate to the circumstances. The Lord Jesus Christ has given us this authority; we have to make the choice to walk in it. He will assist us but we have to exercise our authority even as the Centurion did. Amen.